RIM begins BlackBerry 10 tests with business, government clients

Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:48am EST
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* RIM gives 120 large customers early look at new BB10 devices

* Each customer to use two preproduction BlackBerry 10 devices

* Global introduction of new line scheduled for Jan. 30

* RIM aims to bring back its base of enterprise customers

TORONTO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd said on Monday that it had begun a "beta testing" program that allows 120 companies and government departments to try out its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones before their global launch on Jan. 30.

The Canadian company, which is trying to reverse a sharp decline in market share for the BlackBerry, said the program would enable so-called enterprise customers in business and government to size up the BB10.

Features of the BB10 include the ability to separate personal and business information so that the user can store both without compromising security.

RIM has struggled in recent years to hold on to its base of enterprise customers, which typically pay a higher subscription fee than consumers, as their employees push to use devices such as Apple Inc's iPhone for business as well as personal communications.

"This is a crucial step for us in getting our large enterprise customers ready to support BlackBerry 10 at the point of launch date, as opposed to post-launch date," Bryan Lee, senior director for enterprise accounts, said in a phone interview.   Continued...